Fatwa ; World War One

In the early days of World War One, twenty nine Turkish legal scholars met and deliberated for two weeks before drafting five fatwas, (legal opinions) to sanction jihad.
On 14 November 1914, the chief of the Ottoman fatwa bureau, Ali Haydar Efendi, read the five rulings from the main steps of the mosque of Mehmed the Conqueror (Fatih Mosque, Istanbul), to validate jihad under Islamic law.

Below displays the five fatwas which were presented as questions to clerics, for which they answered with an Islamic legal opinion.

The first fatwa answered if the Caliph calls Muslims to Jihad, are all Muslims required to respond, not only the Ottoman Muslims.


“Would it be a religious duty for all the Muslims in all countries, whether young or old, infantry or cavalry, to resort to jihad with all their properties and lives, as required by the Quranic verse of Enfiru, if the Sultan of Islam declares war and calls the entire population under arms, when there is an enemy attack against Islam and Islamic countries are extorted and pillaged and Islamic people are enslaved?

Answer: It would.”


The second replied to a question, would the duty include Muslims living in the enemy lands – under enemy rule – of the early first world war.


“In this way, would it be a religious duty for them to declare war against Russia, Britain and France and their helpers and supporters, who are enemies of the Islamic Caliphate and trying to –may God forbid- extinguish the divine light of Islam by attacking the seat of the Caliph and the Ottoman nation with battleships and land forces?

Answer: It would.”


The third expressed, failure to respond to jihad would mean Muslims would be subject to Allah’s punishment.


“In this way, when success depends on all Muslims to resort to jihad, would it be a sin and a major rebellion if they –may God forbid- refuse to do so and would they deserve the wrath of God and the punishment for this great sin?

Answer: They would.”


The last two fatwas forbade Muslims from joining the enemy – British, French and Russian lands – to take up arms and fight against the Ottomans or against the allies, Austria and Germany.

Doing so would mean Muslims would face the wrath of Allah, not to mention it would damage Islam and the Caliphate.


“In this way, would the above mentioned state, who are fighting against the state of Islam deserve to be killed and burn in infernal fire if they, deliberately or under coercion, murder Muslim people, destroy their families and fight against the soldiers of the state of Islam?

Answer: They would.”


“In this way, would the Muslims living under the sovereignty of Britain, France, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro and their supporters deserve sever suffering if they fight against Germany and Austria, who are helping the Ottoman government, because it would be harmful for the Caliphate of Islam?

Answer: They would.”

(Ketebetülfakiri ileyhüm taala, Hayri bin Avni Elürgabi, Afa anhüma)


Source of fatwa and pictures.



Click picture to read about German and Muslim Alliance, World War One.

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